Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Big huge sigh of relief.  I finally heard from the man and all is well in his crappy remote area of Afghanistan.  I rambled on and on about everything that I was worried about and he told me, in his usual humorous way, "Babe, I live in a Taliban Retirement Community - nothing ever happens here".  I have a pretty good feeling he's just trying to make me not worry so damn much, but I had to laugh anyway.  We spent a lot of time dreaming and scheming what we'll do for fun when he's home for R&R (mid-deployment rest and recuperation).  I am nervous about how the kids will react to him.  I know my one and a half year old can point him out in pictures, but I wonder how she'll do face to face with him.  I hope it goes smoothly and isn't awkward, I hope my 3 year old isn't shy and hiding behind my legs. 

I'm heading back to Ohio soon.  Time passes so much more quickly when I'm around my family.  I'm a little bit proud that I was able to hang out at Fort Bragg just me and the kids for more than a few weeks this time.  But I'm ready to have a glass of Chardonnay with my mom and these kids need to play with someone besides me for a change!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Still Worried

Yesterday we got the details on the soldier that died on Monday.  It was a stupied IED (Improvised Explosive Device) that hit the vehicle he was driving in.  Four other soldiers were wounded as well.  We basically get all of our information on Facebook, which seems weird at times but it's a good way to get information to a heck of a lot of people in one fell swoop. 

I don't know any of the soldiers in Gunnar's unit, except for two that I met at their training graduation.  Nearly the entire unit (which is the 2-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, by the way) all deployed last August.  My husband was still in training at the time, and a few of the 2-508 troops had babies coming in the fall so they stayed behind, got to meet their babies, then they, Gunnar, and his training buddies deployed.  So any stories I hear of these soldiers wounded or killed or anything like that, I don't have a face to go with the name.  I barely know any of their wives either.  The soldier that died on Monday however, was the husband of the Charlie Co FRG (Family Readiness Group).  I didn't know her well, but had met her at the 2-508 Christmas party a few months ago.  They have a 13 year old son.  A 13 year old son.  I can't imagine what they're going through right now.  I can't imagine how, at 13, he's going to get through this okay.  His dad was on his third deployment to the Middle East.  It sounds cliche to say that he gave the ultimate sacrifice, but he did.  And so did his family. 

I haven't heard anything about the 4 other wounded soldiers, or their status.  I hope nothing is life-threatening, or limb-threatening.  I hope everyone else gets to come home alive and well.  I hope the Taliban gets a life or the US decides to leave them alone.  I hope no one else has to die for this.  I hope Gunnar calls today and tells me everything is going to be ok.  How incredibly selfish and petty does that sound now?  Very.  I'm not going to stop worrying till Gunnar and the rest of 2-508 are home where they belong.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I swear this damned deployment is going to give me an ulcer.  Or some other physical manifestation of my stress and worrying.  I know I just mentioned that there are big things happening in the region that Gunnar's unit is in, and just like that, it was reality.  A friend of mine got the dreaded scripted message call from her FRG (Family Readiness Group) yesterday.  They start off with "First of all, your husband is fine..." and then take it from there.  Someone else's husband was not fine though.  Gunnar is in Delta Company, where my friend's husband is in Charlie Company.  It was a soldier in Charlie Company that was killed this week.  Not my friend's husband, someone else in C-Co.  I don't know if I made any sense just now.  Basically this is the closest casualty that we've heard of in their unit.  And it scares the shit out of me.  I know rationally that if anything happened to Gunnar, I would know about it very, very quickly.  But just knowing there was someone else so close that was killed is crazy. 

I wasn't this worried about Gunnar's safety at any point in this deployment.  I always had so much confidence that he is a badass soldier and he's going to come back home to me and our kids just fine.  But hearing that story yesterday really made me stop and wonder if I'm an idiot for feeling that way.  I just need to get through the next few months!! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No Tears

I just realized last night that I haven't cried in a while.  And that sort of scared me.  I always say I'll never get used to this, and that it still isn't my "normal" to live without Gunnar.  But what does that mean that I'm not a crying mess all the time still?  Gah!  This really bummed me out!  I'm hoping it's because Gunnar is actually coming home for his mid-deployment R&R in the next few months.  Maybe I'm just looking forward to seeing him that much.  I still really miss him like crazy though. 

We've been talking about every 4 or 5 days (actually I'm about due for a call today).  The last time we talked he got me pretty worried.  Apparently the Taliban are largely seasonal trouble makers.  During the winter, they are very quiet, then when spring comes, so do they.  The reason mainly is that as the trees and leaves and grasses grow in, there are more places to hide.  I of course have zero details, and wouldn't be able to share them anyway if I did (that would be an OPSEC - Operational Security, violation) but there's a lot of big things brewing over there.  Sounds scary, and dangerous, and if I knew more about it, I'd be sick worrying. 

I just need him to get through thte next few months and come home to me and the kids.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's that Noise?

As previously mentioned, I pay way too much attention to what's going on around here.  Truth be told, I don't have a lot to distract me and basically not much going on with life in general.  Anyway, here's a funny story for you.  When we first moved here I'd hear these crazy rumbles, it sounded just like thunder.  So me, being not at all any type of meteorologically inclined gal, would look outside, expecting to see rain clouds and dark skies.  But it would be beautiful out!  (I have to admit, one of the saving graces of this turd town is the stunning skies.  I swear they are bigger and bluer than Ohio skies.)  Anyway, I'm getting off track.  Well, this is actually what I was listening to:  (I have to apologize for not being quite savvy enough to actually embed the video)


Nice huh?  I think it's a sign that I might somehow be adjusting to living on this Army base because last night we had a crazy thunderstorm and it was raining cats and dogs around here.

The whole time, I was thinking to myself "why the heck are they practicing artillery fire at this hour?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fort Bragg - Still a Mystery

I wish I had a better Fort Bragg orientation, or introduction to living on an Army base.  There are so many things that I just don't understand about living here.  Maybe it's that I am extremely aware of what's going on around me.  The runway at Pope Air Force Base draws a line right over my house and I love, love, love seeing the airplanes fly so low over us.  Chalk that up to having a pilot mom, obsessesed with anything with wings and a motor, and you'll find me running outside just to see the belly of a C-130 cruising right over me.

I guess I just really want to know why they are flying right then.  Is it training?  Are they going somewhere overseas?  I fully understand this is none of my business.  At all.  I'm just really curious what going on around here.  I know if Gunnar were here, he'd be able to tell me a thing or two or a hundred.  I can't wait for him to come home and help explain some things about this place. 

Take last Friday, for example.  Every soldier I saw around base was wearing their dress uniforms.  I'm sure there is a more technical name for these but basically they all looked like this:
Was it a holiday?  Were there ceremonies of some kind?  Some important dude's birthday?  Was it a sad day?  A funeral?  A happy day?  Did soldiers come back from a deployment?  (By the way, I just learned that when soldiers return from a deployment, it's called redeployment- counterintuitive as all get-out but that's military-speak, I guess.)

Typically the soldiers always wear their ACU's on normal days around here.  ACU's are Army Combat Uniforms.  They look like this:
It's a funny uniform, if you ask me.  They are walking around base all day long with the boots and camoflauge, just in case, well, I have no idea really.  Just in case they need to quickly blend in with their surroundings?

Obviously there is a lot I still need to learn around here.  I'm getting more and more excited about having this life here at Fort Bragg but with my husband here.  It's going to actually be a lot of fun.  The latest (and by far greatest) rumor these days is that Gunnar's unit will redeploy back here in August!  I hope like all hell that it's true, because I'd love to have a little bit of summer left to enjoy with him.  I can't get the image of sitting on the patio, drinking cold beers, grilling some dinner, out of my head!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Head First

I got a call from Gunnar last week.  We've been talking about once or twice a week lately which is wonderful.  If I haven't heard from him for a few days, I know a call will be coming soon, and it usually does.  He usually gives me a brief rundown of what he and his platoon have been up to (the new COP is mostly built now, and he's been doing lots of night patrols and still training the Afghan Nat'l Police), then I tell him crazy stories about our crazy kids and he laughs his ass off.  Well, last week he tells me he had a bit of trouble going over a wall to get into the city. 

I always wondered why the military makes the guys practice jumping over walls but the most obvious reason is that the bad guys like to set explosives at the main entrances to the towns.  Hence, jumping over walls is seemingly much safer.  Well Gunnar and his squad were jumping over a wall about 6 feet high, but dropped off more like 10-12 feet on the other side.  He clearly remembers jumping up one side of the wall, but not so clear on what heppened next.  He was told that his head hit a tree branch on the other side, which knocked him off balance and then landed on his head.  Ouch!!  Then next thing he remembers is the medic standing over him, as he regained consciousness.  He was put through a series of brain injury tests and failed them all miserably so the mission was aborted and they headed back to the COP.  He had a wicked headache for a few days and when they retested him for a brain injury he scored just 1 point higher than what would require him to be med-evac'd (medical evacuation) out of Afghanistan for treatment and recovery.  One point.  One point!!  While I'm so thankful and happy that he isn't injured, boy, I would have loved to hear he was transported to a safer place. 

The headache is now gone, and he is back to business as usual.  As if there is anything normal about what they're doing over there. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cue: Freak Out

I've run into some car trouble and my junker is on it's last leg.  I've got to make some decisions about how the chunk is either going to be a) repaired, or b) replaced.  It's going to be pricey to repair and frankly, it's just not worth that much.  I can get it driveable again, but it's going to need a lot more work in the near future.  I thought I might try to replace it, which is a little tricky since I don't work.  I have a power of atty for my husband, but I just learned that along with that, lenders also would like either a phone call or an email (only from the Army's email account) from my husband that allows me to take out a loan in his name.  I explained to the lady at the bank that he has no internet service and can't call whenever I need him to.  She basically said too bad, that's what we need from him to get you a loan.  Then I started crying and hung up on her.  I'm so awesome. 

On top of all of this, I actually missed a call from Gunnar yesterday - completely didn't hear my phone, and missed the call by exactly 2 minutes.  Thank goodness that I had company and couldn't cry the rest of the day (like I normally would have).  I broke my awesome streak of never missing his call for the last 4 months. 

Other than all of those fun messes, I had an amazing weekend with a great friend.  That's right, I actually had visitors!!  It was wonderful to have someone to hang out with and cook with and laugh with and I'm so grateful. 

Well I've got some stuff to figure out.  Wish me luck!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Friend Thing Again

I do honestly try to not judge people.  I accept differences and appreciate them.  Having said that, it is becoming more and more obvious that I don't actually like too many people - possibly a contributing factor in that I don't have many friends on this here Army base.  I spent way too many hours getting a simple car repair done today and there was a gal in the waiting room with a kid the same age as my oldest.  We nodded politely and corrected our respective children when they were acting up. 

We eventually had to start an actual conversation when her daughter kept asking me to read books to her.  Of course she was in the same situation as me, husband deployed, doesn't know anyone in Fort Bragg yada yada yada.  We decided to take a walk with the kids to pass the time after I had read the same 3 books 28,462 times.  While we were walking and chatting, we had to constantly remind the kids to stay with us, hurry up, stop, don't run, run, watch for cars, stay close by etc since we were walking along a busy road with no sidewalks (boo for Fayetteville and their anti-pedestrianism). 

Well my new pal took a slightly different approach and yelled at her kid to not run and get hit by a car "because you'll get killed and when Daddy comes home, he'll shoot me!". 

Seriously, this is what the woman is telling her kid, so she'll pay attention and walk with us.  Maybe I'm overprotective, but I would never mention anything about anyone shooting anything to a 3 year old!  I like to think I'm fairly moderate as a parent, not too harsh, if anything too lenient, so to hear stuff like that makes me insane.  How the heck am I supposed to explain that to my kids?  And then explain she was being dramatic?  Sarcastic?  Insane?  Well that pretty much made up my mind that I really don't need her as a friend.  Honestly, that's not the kind of thing I want my kids to hear.  I can assume that if that's what she says when she's trying to cross the street, it can only get worse ya know?

This scenario, right here, is why I don't make friends easily.  I made a judgement that this is not who I would want my kids around, and since they are always with me, hanging out with that chick again is a no go.